7/8/09

Summer Sanity


At the end of a loooong winter, I started to have a really hard time as a stay at home mom. I was struggling to keep my cool and basically losing my mind, feeling kind of suffocated and lonely. Many of you will remember that I emailed my friend Debbie (of Suburb Sanity fame) and poured my heart out all over the screen, begging for her to tell me HOW to do this. Then she gave me great advice (you can find that here).

One of the main things I took away from Debbie's advice was to get out of the house for some kind of activity every day. She talked about how it was the only thing that saved her sanity when her kids were really small and needed a lot of entertaining and direction. Of course, this is something I was aware of, but it's easy to forget during a Minnesota winter. I did heed her advice though, and we have been loving it. Every day. The pool or the water park or the regular park or a play date...you get the idea. Sure, it can be exhausting to load the small people in the van, remember all of our stuff, and chase and get dirty and wet and tired...but, it's so worth it! I'm kind of sane!

My friends and family will be happy to hear that sometimes we even skip naps!!! (See? I'm not a total control freak anymore!)

The other thing that's been helping with my sanity issues is that I treat Asher's waking up from a nap as a trigger to walk out the door and spend an hour or two outside if we don't have other plans for the afternoon. It's become such a habit to immediately head outside with our snacks and water bottles, I don't even think about it anymore. This saves us the torture of long afternoons inside, me shaking bored small people off my legs while I get all irritated and grumpy.

It feels good. Maybe this is what most moms do, but I have a tendency to fall into funks in which we don't get out enough. So our TV is off, I'm on the computer less, and we're enjoying each other. And just because it gave me warm fuzzies, I will tell you that a neighbor came across the street the other day just to tell me how much he respects seeing us outside so much. He talked about what a good example we are to him and I just about cried. So thank you, Debbie. I'm paying it forward!

Here's what's been imprinted on my brain:

At least one adventure per day keeps the crazies away.

and,

Nap time over = Out the door (Do not pass go. Do not collect 200 dollars Do not read one more blog. Get off Twitter.)

For more Works-For-Me Wednesday posts, visit Kristen at We Are THAT Family. She's got a really great list of summer tricks in her post today, just so you know.

40 clicked right here to comment:

Jo@Mylestones said...

Good for you for making the most of summer time by being OUTDOORS. I'd love to join you there.
Tis raining again here, though, so look who's still on the internet....Sigh.

Paula @ Organizing Tips For Moms said...

I agree, just getting out and doing helps! I love how I feel after a walk and I know I should do it more.

Growin' with it! said...

2 boys FIGHTING all the time gives me more incentive to get out of the house lately! phew.

Kimberly said...

This is what I've been telling myself the past two days; Get out Kim! Get out while you still can!

Such a sanity buster indeed!

MamaMiaMelissa said...

great advice!! :)

Chele said...

Awesome advice! They do really get bored by afternoon!!

Muthering Heights and Other Senseless Sensibility said...

I'm glad you were able to find something that works for you! :)

Tooj said...

You are NOT a control freak because you insist on getting naptime in. It is an essential tool for young children and their parents. You keep at it! If you skip nap time too early in their toddlerhood, they weedle for more of it...but don't know they NEED those naps. You know what you're doing. :) Hold out!!

Jen said...

this is great advice and something that i totally live by!

Heather of the EO said...

Oh Toojy Schmoosy, you crack me up.

We rarely skip naps. Naps are GOOD stuff. We run around so much they NEED their naps. I had to crack that joke because I really am a recovering control freak. I used to HAVE to put the boys down exactly at 1pm or I thought the world was ending. :)

Kazzy said...

I think it really does help to throw in some out-of-the-house-time. Even walking around a museum, getting an ice cream cone, or whatever. Good for you!

♥georgie♥ said...

what great advice! glad it is working for you...reading this makes me realize how much I missed out on when the beanies were younger and I still worked-I have to tell myself they need me just as much now as they could have then...

Izzy 'N Emmy said...

Sounds like a wonderful plan! I am so glad everything has gotten better. Here's to a great Summer!

Blessed said...

now if I could just get hubby to understand #1...

Nina said...

Seems like a good plan. We need to get outside more than we do.

Jeff and Valerie Carr said...

It's reassuring sometimes when I realize there are other moms struggling with my same issues. I just recently realized that perhaps if we went outside, I wouldn't be so frustrated. We've started going to the beach, or a pool, or something out of the hot unairconditioned apartment so that mommy can breathe and boys can get exhausted.

Thanks for the handy sayings!

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Excellent. I had such trouble letting go of what needed to be done in the house when the kids were small.

Sara@i.Sass said...

I use to make fun of the parents that whined about summer, and saying how they couldn't wait for school to start.
I'd think "spend some time with your kids people!"
Then it happened to me:
I dreaded the final day of school thinking: WHAT on Earth am I going to do for the next three months with these two rugrats that don't nap anymore!!!
I stopped panicing about mid-June.
I pull out the playdoe, paint, water,sand...everything I say NO to if it involves mess. And like you said we take it OUTside. I have to say I'm glad our summer is not so humid and buggy. We also found a great beach and do the library's free activities. We do however enjoy watching Fetch with Ruff Ruffman on PBS at 4PM though and Nick has become addicted to watching Michael Jackson videos on youtube...I have to fight to check my email!

Steph @Red Clay Diaries said...

Oh, I've been receiving that advice for years. And I was really bad about obeying it. (I guess we're alike in the "get in a funk" syndrome.)

But when we DO get out, even at the ages of my kids, I'm always glad. Distraction is a wonderful thing.

blueviolet said...

I remember that post and I'm so glad that you've come so far and found a way to make your days great!

BaronessBlack said...

Y'know, it was good for me to read this. We go out and about most days except the two mornings when the children are in nursery. My Mother has been giving me a hard time about how my children can't seem to spend any time at home, and apparently I'm over-stimulating them, making a rod for my own back, etc. etc.
So it's good to know I'm not the only one who has to get out of the house and active!

Debbie said...

Smooch! You make me sound so wise when really I'm just a raving lunatic. Can you walk around with me in real life and see if you can change people's opinions too?

Get Real Girl said...

Thanks for sharing. Glad I am not the only SAHM that feels a little (or a lot) overwhelmed somedays. I know when I have a day that I think about going back to work it is time to get out of the house.

Mammatalk said...

Great advice. I think I am falling in love with Debbie.

Have you joined your local MOMS Club? There are always plenty of activities, playdates etc offered thru MOMS. OK, I'll take off my MOMS Club Presidential hat now. Just sayin'.....

Becky said...

Excellent advice! Debbie rocks the party, for sure. (I actually used that phrase the other day without thinking about it. Not the Debbie part, but still. It's like you're in my head!!)

Like you, summertime isn't really the problem for me. It's during the winter when it's cold and dark and I'd rather stay inside. I forget that maybe my kiddos need some adventure beyond the toys in the living room. When Riley starts school in the fall, I will be driving him every morning, which will ensure that we are all showered, dressed, and out of the house by 10am. I'm oddly excited about this. :)

Erin said...

This really is great advice. My problem is after lunch it is 100 degrees where I live. Yuck! What I need to do it get the kids out right after breakfast, when it is still 80 degrees...

Amber@theRunaMuck said...

I'm REALLY feeling the need right now, friend. Great post.

Evolving Mommy Catherine said...

Way to go, Heather. I wish I could say that I am doing as well as you are at getting us out of the house. We only have one car that goes with Luke to work so our options (besides our teeny tiny backyard and even teeny tinier front yard) are one park and the library. We go to the library A LOT, but at least during the summer they have puppet shows, magicians, story times and sing-alongs.

Thanks for the gentle reminder to get my tush out of the house.

a Tonggu Momma said...

I just love, love, love that Debbie sounds So Very Wise. And then you click over to her blog and today's post is about women eating their own placenta. BwwwwaaaHaHaHaHa! (But she really is wise. And funny, too. Obviously. I mean, who but Debbie can write about placenta, grossing you out and making you laugh at the same time?)

Cynthia said...

I think you're on to something! The other big advantage of getting out of the house is that the kids can't make a mess in the living room if they aren't IN the living room!

We've found lots of cheap, fun things to do. My kids are a little older now (elementary school ages) so our activities have started to be geared a little more to learning and finding unusual adventures- like the Lavender Farm we visited yesterday.

Keep getting the kids (and yourself) out and about. And I am thanking my lucky stars I don't have to try and get through a Minnesota winter, with or without kids!

L.T. Elliot said...

I remember that post because it was after reading it that I began following Debbie (who makes me LMAO in almost every post!)

I admire you for that too, Heather. I'm terrible about getting out. I'm a bit of a homebody and a loner and I tend to forget that there is a world out there. I went to somewhere new today, saw some beautiful things, and then came home and took my dudes on a horseride with their grandfather. I remember sitting for a moment and thinking, "I need to live. This is what I need to refill my soul." And I think I shall have to do it more often.

K said...

This is great advice. I'm afraid I'm not the best at it due to hmm let's see, germophobia, allergies in my oldest, and control freakiness. However, I have been trying more. I promise.

The Three 22nds said...

absolutely right! We go somewhere at least once a day and NO TV until 4:30 and then only if they have behaved!

Roban said...

Great ideas...! When Hannah was small, we bought an annual membership at our local arts and sciences museum. It was my birthday present to myself! We also made good use of story time at the local bookstore, walks at a nearby historic site, and taking a blanket outside for playtime. Now that she's older, I'm slipping a bit! We both spend too much time on the computer, but I draw the line when she starts Instant Messaging me while we're sitting there together!

Have fun being a mom!

Roban

Aunt LoLo said...

Awww...what great advice!

Debbie never answered my question. (Debbie? Are you out there? I still want to know how to be awesome like you. I'll await your response.)

I need to get my two kiddos out more. We've got a huge backyard, a great gated deck...and too many projects on the To-Do list.

Mary @ Parenthood said...

Setting up your routine to get out of the house is a really great idea.

I'm going to have to try it! I'm finding out that there are a ton of free "mom" things to do here in our city this summer - it's pretty neat!

Kristen@nosmallthing said...

I discovered the same thing a few years ago. Get out of the house. It's really tough in the winter, but I would do anything, just so we weren't home all day nearly killing each other. :)

Willow Tree said...

Loved this Heather.

It applies to working moms too. You'd think, sheesh, whatsamatta you - you don't see your kids for 50 hours a week, how could they possibly drive you up a tree on nights and weekends? But the pressure from every direction can be overwhelming. Doesn't feel like there's a lot of time to just casually BE the family we used to before I worked. Uh-oh, think I feel a blog coming on. Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks. You've got great ideas I want to use too.

Blessings,
Carolynn

Carrie said...

Mmmmm...I can't wait to be a full-time stay-at-home-mom! Right now I take my son to work with me, and honestly I try to take time to do special stuff with him after naptime, sometimes walks outside, or last week we took a day off & went to the beach, but sometimes it's just back to the office b/c I have so much to do. Five weeks from now, I'll be done, though!!! :) Thanks for the tip! :)

charrette said...

This is excellent. I SO need this! (And I love Debbie!)

Very sweet the way your neighbor noticed and commented on your new outdoor habit!

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